NTSB Identification: FTW96LA266.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 20, 1996 in ABILENE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N40954
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was flying with the fuel selector in the 'Left Tank' position, when the engine lost power. Attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful, and the airplane was landed at an abandoned airport. During the landing, the left main gear struck a pile of concrete debris, and subsequently, the left wing separated from the fuselage. Inspection of the airplane revealed that the left fuel tank contained less than 1 gallon of fuel, and the right fuel tank contained approximately 16 gallons of fuel. The fuel line from the left tank to the fuselage had been compromised during the accident; however, there was no evidence of spilled fuel. With the fuel selector in the 'Right Tank' position, the engine was started, and it ran normally.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

fuel mismanagement by the pilot, which resulted in fuel starvation; and the pilot's failure to reposition the fuel selector (follow emergency procedure) while attempting to restart the engine. A factor relating to aircraft damage was: concrete debris (rocks) in the emergency landing area.

Full narrative available

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